I am far from a geologist. My knowledge of rocks is mostly how pretty they look... well, that and what I learned in like 3rd grade about how different rocks are formed. There are 3 classifications of rocks. Igneous rocks are formed when lava or magma cools. Sedimentary rocks form when particles settle out of water or air. The third type are metamorphic rocks; they’re formed when existing rocks are exposed to heat or pressure.
Metamorphic rocks always made the least amount of sense to me. They used to be other rocks. At what point are they no longer those other rocks? How much heat and pressure are needed until they’re the new kind of rock? Is their formation like cooking brownies, if the middle is still kind of liquidy it’s not done yet, but if it’s solid all the way through then it’s done?
Apparently… no. When it comes to metamorphic rocks, there is a progression of metamorphism. As heat/pressure is applied to one type of rock, the particles recrystallize and realign to become something totally different. Then when more/different heat and pressure are applied it becomes another type of rock.
It is interesting to know that even though all of those same minerals are still there, they realign and become something completely different, because in my mind I (incorrectly) thought it was like mixing playdough colors together. They never really fully mix together into something new; you just have two different colors that you now are incapable of separating.
As I said at the beginning, most of my knowledge of rocks is how pretty they are. I follow @GeologyTime on Twitter to get my fill of all the pretty gems/crystals/minerals. So it was a surprise to me that many of the beautiful gems we enjoy are actually metamorphic rocks too! I was surprised because when I think of metamorphic rocks, I think of the ugly gray shown above. But I have learned that rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are ALL metamorphic rocks. Rubies and sapphires are created when aluminum oxide (Al2O3) is exposed to heat and pressure. They gain their specific colors when some of the aluminum is replaced with a different substance. It becomes a deep red when chromium is added and deep blue with the addition of iron or titanium. Emeralds can be found in a number of metamorphic rocks as long as the element beryllium is present.
When I think of rocks, I think of the ordinary. In my everyday life I see rocks all the time. It’s unlikely I’ll see many igneous rocks in Houston, TX, but I see rocks on people’s houses, in their flower beds, in the streets. Some people wear jewelry with small rocks/gems of all kinds on them. This is a part of their everyday attire. Rocks are just everywhere and not something I think much about, even beautiful gems like the one mentioned above.
Because of this mindset, one Bible verse that has always been difficult for me is Psalm 18. In verse 2 it says:
The titles of “my fortress” and “my deliverer” are more of how I picture God. He is ALL POWERFUL and ALL LOVING! When I am in trouble, He is there to save me from the difficulties of this world! He is there to shelter me from all of the struggles that threaten me!
Aaaaaaand He’s a rock. What? It just has never really fit when I read it. But this week when reflecting on this verse, I thought about all of those factoids about rocks that I mentioned earlier. Now that I think about it, God is definitely a metamorphic rock. We as humans challenge Him every day. We ask so much of Him. We put all of this pressure on Him to be our everything, and He takes it. He takes that pressure and He comes into our lives in new ways. In all of the foundational ways, that same God is there, but maybe today I need a God who forgives. Then maybe tomorrow I need a God who is strong to vanquish my foes. All of these burdens we put on Him, He takes that pressure and continues to be in our lives, showing us new sides of Himself, being anything and everything that we need. He does not break, He is stronger than any pressure that we or our sins can put on Him.
Then come the gems. God is not only strong and sturdy and able to withstand pressure, but He is beautiful and the most valuable thing we can have in our lives. As I mentioned, I love looking at different gems and all the vibrant and beautiful colors they can be. How often do I similarly spend time just marveling at the beauty of God? How often do I think about how valuable it is to have a close relationship with Him? (Answer: Not as much as I should)
I have said that when I think of rocks, I think of the ordinary, but in reality, God’s awesome strength and power IS his every day; it is ordinary for Him. I wish that we could see and notice His amazing power as often as we see and notice the rocks around us. Just as they are everywhere, so too is our God. Although previously I had struggled with this Psalm, I won’t anymore. God is my rock. I desire Him and I need Him to be that for me. This week, look for the rocks that surround you, think of how that could remind you of God. When you see houses made of rock, think of how God shelters us. When you see rocks decorating someone’s yard, think of the beauty that God brings to our life. Even when you see the rocks and pebbles in the street, think of how God encounters each of us in the streets, in our lives, in the ordinary. He doesn’t require us to climb a mountain to encounter Him, He is here, always and everywhere. I pray that we may encounter Him there.